Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for tag: tight calf muscles

By Dr. Rion Berg
October 27, 2017
Category: Heel pain

Do you have tight calf muscles and experience foot pain? Tight calf muscles are not uncommon in our culture. Because most of us sit all day long our calves tighten up. Women who wear high heels also end up with this condition.

When the calf muscles are too tight you can't move the foot forward properly.  Instead of the force dissipating when you walk or run, the force goes into the foot resulting in Achilles tendonitis or plantar fasciitis.

Here are solutions for beating tight calf muscles.

Stretching
As soon as I identify tight calf muscles in a patient I start them on a program of appropriate stretching.  Stretching exercises are easily done at home. The problem is that they need to be done for up to thirty minutes a day.  To help you with that a splint can be worn while you're watching TV or reading a book and easily get that thirty minutes of stretching done to reduce the tightness of your calf muscle.

Heel Lift
A heel lift can also be used under the sole of your shoe to raise the heel up which relaxes the calf muscle.

Control the Foot Mechanics
Controlling your foot mechanics is another part of the puzzle that must be resolved to prevent tight calf muscles. Custom orthotics prevent pronation and stops the need for the calf to tighten.

Other Measures
If the inflammation is too great other measures include:

  • icing

  • heat

  • anti-inflammatory medication

  • referral to physical therapy

Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.

For more information about heel pain in runners download our eBook, "The Complete Guide to Stopping Heel Pain in Runners".

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

Coming soon.

By Dr. Rion Berg
January 21, 2016
Category: Heel pain
Tags: tight calf muscles   equinus  

You've been grilled about doing the runner's stretch for at least 30 secs to a minute before taking off on your daily run. Although this seems to be enough for your friends and people in your running club, it never seems to be enough for you.

Almost every time you run you get pain in your calves. And it seems like your calves just keep getting tighter. You've also had heel pain and achilles tendonitis so many times you've stopped counting. Perhaps you've used over-the-counter inserts because you've heard that this might help. Or you might even have gone to a podiatrist who put you in custom orthotics and gave you stretches to do at home. You may even have seen a physical therapist.

In over 30 years of treating runners with plantar fasciitis or heel pain, I've found that the kinds of stretching people like you are asked to do is simply not enough because they can't make a dent in stretching your very tight calf muscles. At least not to the extent they need to be when you'll be putting the kind of force you put on your feet when running. And running itself only adds to the problem.

So what can be done?

While you might think that holding the runner's stretch longer would be the best option, it may not practical. I recommend holding the stretch 30 seconds, 10-20 times.

Many runners are taking up yoga to stretch out their tight calf muscles and to give them an overall body workout. Several poses can help stretch your calf including downward facing dog and standing forward bend. However, Yoga Journal only recommends stretching your calf muscles 5-6 days a week for a minute or two. Again, this is not sufficient for really tight calf muscles.

After years of trying many ways to make a difference in my patient's calf length, I finally found the best solution that works for most people. 

I ask my patients to use a splint during the day for 20-30 minutes on each side while watching TV, reading, or any other activity where they can remain still for that long. I've found that it really does take that long to make the biggest difference in stretching out the calf muscle and Achilles.

So if you're continuing to have heel pain over and over again and this information resonates with you, make an appointment with Dr. Berg at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.

More information for runners:

How Runners Can Prevent Those Awful Shin Splints
Runners Heels Can Feel Like They've Stepped on a Nail
Painful Foot Conditions in Women Runners

Get our free foot book "No More Foot Pain", mailed directly to your home.

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

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At this time of year you'll be spending more time than usual on your feet. If you're prone to plantar fasciitis I know you'll want to have some tools in your toolbox to prevent a holiday season flare-up.

Get yourself a pair of dress orthotics

Very likely you have one pair of orthotics for a wider shoe with a larger toe box. Although they were great to help you heal from plantar fasciitis, they just won’t cut it when you get all snazzed up for the holidays. You want to don your favorite pair of shoes and your orthotics just won’t accommodate the narrow, cute style. Never fear, we do make orthotics for dress shoes.

Don’t wear flat, flat shoes

Tight calf muscles and flat, flat shoes can create the perfect storm for those with a tendency to get plantar fasciitis. And at this time of year when you’ll be spending lots of time on your feet at parties avoiding flat, flat shoes will help keep you out of pain. Plan to wear shoes that have a slight heel of up to one inch. You’ll be much happier and you won’t have to come see me. 

If you have to wear high heels, listen up

I know many of you may want to wear your high heels at this time of year and I can’t stop you. Instead of taking off your shoes when your feet start to ache, bring an extra pair of shoes that have more room in the toe box and are 1 inch in height or less.

If you are experiencing pain right now, schedule some time to come see us at the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City. Call us at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online